Left: George Mallory and Andrew Irvine © RGS/The Sandy Irvine Trust, from "Ghosts of Everest" ; Right: 1924 North Face locations © Pete Poston
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"I'm quite doubtful if I shall be fit enough. But again I wonder if the monsoon will give us a chance. I don't want to get caught, but our three-day scheme from the Chang La will give the monsoon a good chance. We shall be going up again the day after tomorrow. Six days to the top from this camp!"

--from George Mallory's last letter to his wife prior to disappearing on Mt. Everest with his partner Andrew "Sandy" Irvine in 1924

"My face is in perfect agony. Have prepared two oxygen apparatus for our start tomorrow morning".

- Sandy Irvine's last diary entry

History of Mount Everest from 1903 - 1975 (copyright © 2005)

Reference: "Everest" 3rd ed, by Walt Unsworth

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1950: After a palace revolution in which the ruling Rana family are overthrown, Nepal opens up to the West, partially as a result of the Chinese takeover in Tibet. Foreign expeditions are allowed access to the southern side of Everest for the first time.

1950: Anglo-American Nepal Reconnaissance. Organized and led by the American Dr. Charles Houston and including Bill Tilman. The group enters the Solu Khumbu region - homeland of the Sherpas - and explores to the base of the Khumbu Icefall. Tilman concludes that the route up into the Western Cwm is not a viable one!

1951: Without official permission from Nepal, and only a few months after the 1950 Anglo-American Nepal Reconnaissance, the Dane Klavs Becker-Larsen attempts to climb the Northern pre-war Everest route but via a southern approach. With a party of Sherpa porters and guides, he attempts to enter Tibet via the Lho La, and actually climbs about halfway up before being turned back by rockfall and his lack of experience (it was the first time he had ever used an ice ax!). Undeterred, Larsen crosses the Nampa La instead and reaches the Rongbuk Monastery. Several days later Larsen and two Sherpas attempt to climb the North Col but turn back after yet more rockfall. Larsen wisely gives up the attempt and returns to Nepal.

1951: British Reconnaissance supported by the Alpine Club and the Royal Geographic Society. A post-monsoon exploration led by Eric Shipton with M.P. Ward, T. Bourdillon, W.H. Murray, and New Zealanders Edmund Hillary and H. Riddiford, the expedition was forced to contend with swollen streams, washed-out bridges, leeches, and reluctant porters. On the 22nd of September they reached Namche Bazaar, and three days later left with the objective of scaling the Khumbu Icefall and entering the Western Cwm. From a vantagepoint on the lower slopes of Pumori, they could see that the route up to the South Col looked feasible. Eventually the expedition pushed the route almost completely through to the top of the Icefall before retreating.

1952: Swiss Expeditions sponsored by the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research

Spring Attempt: led by Dr. E. Wyss-Dunant with climbers G. Chevalley, R. Lambert, R. Dittert, L. Flory, R. Aubert, A. Roch, J. Asper, E. Hofstetter, and Tenzing Norgay as Sirdar. The party ascends the Geneva Spur and places Camp VI on the South Col. Camp VII is placed at approximately 27,500 feet (8382 meters) on the SE Ridge. After a miserable night without sleeping bags or a stove, Tenzing Norgay and Raymond Lambert make an attempt using oxygen but fail below the South Summit at an altitude of 28,210 feet (8595 meters), beating Norton's height record by only 84 feet (25 meters)!

Post-Monsoon Attempt: led by G. Chevalley with climbers R. Lambert, E. Reiss, J. Buzio, A. Spohel, G. Gross, N.G. Dyhrenfurth. The indomitable Tenzing returns again as expedition Sirdar. Instead of climbing the Geneva Spur, the route is pushed up the Lhotse Face instead, now the standard route. Unfortunately the expedition is fraught with bad luck and the Sherpa Mingma Dorje is killed on the Lhotse Face by falling ice, the first Everest fatality in twenty years since Maurice Wilson. Climbing along with the same party, incredibly a second rope slips on the ice and falls 600 feet (180 meters) to the bottom of the slope. Miraculously no one else is injured. A camp is established on the South Col, but the arrival of winter's bitter cold and fierce gales puts an end to the attempt. The expedition lays the groundwork for 1953.

1952: Rumors of a post-monsoon Russian attempt from the North led by Dr. Pawel Datschnolian, possibly with the hope of beating the Swiss to the top and scoring major propaganda points in an age of Sputnik. There are reports that this expedition left Moscow on October 16th and eventually placed Camp VII at 26,800 feet (8170 meters) before six climbers (including Datschnolian) simply disappeared. The Russians deny the expedition ever took place and the Chinese have never made any mention of it.

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News

If you're a devoted Mallory and Irvine fan, please visit my Mallory and Irvine forum.

New articles!

congratulations to the visitor from Seattle, WA who visited at 02:13:42 PM, Wed May 29. You are the 100,000th visitor to my webpage!

Spring 2013

According to the Huffington Post, super climbers Ueli Steck and Simon Moro, while attempting a new route on the SW Face of Everest, got into a fight with the Sherpas fixing ropes up the Lhotse Face. Here is Simon Moro's response given in an interview with Planet Mountain.

This is big news, indeed. In Graham Hoyland's new book (which you can pre-order on Amazon), he reveals that there was a sighting of Mallory in 1933, which has been kept a family secret all of these years. Check out this interview here

No news about any searches for Irvine this year, although there are always things brewing under the radar.

Jochen Hemmleb's documentary of his 2010 search for Irvine is now available with English translation.

The first fatality of the year - Everest icefall doctor Mingmar Sherpa was killed when he fell into a crevasse in the Western Cwn.

It was bound to happen. Using Google Earth, you can now trek to Mount Everest as viewed from street level. Google has also announced in the past that they plan to use climbers to photograph the way all the way to the summit.

Mark Horrell is an British climber who climbed the Northeast Ridge of Mount Everest in 2012. He has a great blog where he explains why he believes Mallory and Irvine summited in 1924. Horrell is also the author of numerous Kindle books about the history of the Himalaya which you can download from Amazon.com. Highly recommended reading.

Fall 2011

The politics of Mallory and Irvine continues - the British climbing establishment is quiet about Hemmleb's search but Holzel's is roundly condemned.

Spring 2011

Hemmleb has been spotted in Kathmandu, and will be searching again even though he says they won't be. He said the same thing last year, and we know how that turned out.

According to KSL.com, Graham Hoyland is searching this year as well.

UPDATE: Hemmleb is at Advanced Base Camp (ABC) on the North side with lots of heavy video cameras.

UPDATE: Hemmleb failed to find Irvine this year.

UPDATED - 4/19/11

The results of Hemmleb's 2010 search expedition were unsuccessful, and here is a map of where he looked (look for the Big and Little Cracks on the ridgecrest). Hemmleb also has posted his latest theories on his webpage, as well as some complaining about criticism.

Fall 2010

Who owns the camera? Who has the copyright to any images? Read these great articles on Tom Holzel's website.

Attention searchers! - Tom Holzel tells you how to handle the film

Did bad weather seal M&I's Fate? A recent article based on the actual weather conditions on June 8th, 1924, and Graham Hoyland's involvement with it.

Jake Norton - outstanding M&I theorist and historian. Read his blog here, and his three part theory of how M&I could have made the summit!

>> Spring 2004
>> Spring 2006
>> Fall 2006
>> Spring 2007
>> Summer 2008
>> Spring 2009
>> Summer 2009
>> Fall 2009
>> Winter 2010
>> Spring 2010
>> Fall 2010


 

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Articles and Editorials

Harvey V. Lankford, MD, has written a paper documenting the origin of the term "Glacier Lassitude" as a diagnosis for the debilitating effect of altitude as experienced by members of the early British Everest expeditions.

My new theory about Mallory and Irvine's last climb, where I believe Odell's sighting was erroneous, and have them taking the Couloir route instead.

Part 1: the ascent
Part 2: the descent

Warwick Pryce is a new researcher who has arrived on the scene, and he has a new theory about how Andrew Irvine could have been the first person to stand on the top of the world.

Wim Kohsiek has a new interpretation of what Mallory's altimeter can tell us based on scientific applications of meterology.

Mallory and Irvine researcher Wim Kohsiek has two new thought-provoking articles about Mallory's watch and Irvine's location:

Mallory's Watch - Does it Really Point to 12:50 PM?

1924 Oxygen by Richard McQuet and Pete Poston

Why the Camera and Film are not Doomed to Destruction!

The Politics of Mallory and Irvine

Why Andrew Irvine Will Not be Found in a Sleeping Bag! Part 1 and Part 2 on ExplorersWeb

Chomolungma Nirvana: The Routes of Mount Everest

Rust Marks on Mallory's Altimeter

Mystery of Mallory and Irvine's Fate Google Earth Tour - my own ideas in 3-D with audio!

Little Known Free-Solo Ascent of the Second Step in 2001 by Theo Fritsche - I should never have written this - Anker and Houlding deserve credit for the first free ascent

Criticisms of the 2004 EverestNews.com search for Irvine --

The Mystery of Mallory and Irvine's Fate (with J. Hemmleb): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Mallory and Irvine - Comments on the 'real Second Step' route: Part 1 and Part 2

Conrad Anker's comments on the unlikeliness of a direct route up the prow of the 2nd Step

Articles about my heroes Walter Bonatti and Chris Bonington --

Spilling the Beans - Lino Lacedelli's Book "Price of Conquest: Confessions from the First Ascent of K2" Part 1 and Part 2

The Life and Climbs of Chris Bonington, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 final - interview

About Me

Celebrating my 50th birthday on pitch 3 of Prodigal Son, Zion National Park, Utah

In my free time, I love to photograph and hike the spectacular redrock wilderness of the Colorado Plateau - please visit my Colorado Plateau Homepage.

And for most of my life I've been fascinated with the history, people, and culture of the Himalayas and Karakoram - browse my Mount Everest Trek (1996), Overland Journey from Kathmandu to Lhasa (2000), and K2 Base Camp Trek (2007) webpages.

As for my employment, I work for Western Oregon University where I have been a Professor of Chemistry for the last 20 years. My research interests are in applications of Laser Raman Spectroscopy to such diverse fields as Nanotechnology, Analytical Chemistry, and even a bit of Achaeology through the study of rock art pigments found in the Colorado Plateau. You can access my academic webpage here.